10 Things You Might Not Know About Bisquick

articgoneape/Getty Images
articgoneape/Getty Images

Since 1931, Bisquick has been helping home cooks make a variety of quick and delicious Bisquick recipes. With its instantly recognizable yellow and blue box, the baking mix holds the key to making foods ranging from biscuits, pancakes, and waffles to dumplings, pot pies, and even churros. Read on for some facts about the famous Betty Crocker brand.

1. Bisquick's creation was inspired by a train ride to San Francisco.

On a train ride to San Francisco in 1930, Carl Smith, a sales executive at General Mills (which owns the Betty Crocker brand), ate some amazing biscuits. After he ordered the biscuits, he was impressed by how the train’s cook was able to quickly whip up fresh biscuits on demand. The cook showed Smith his secret for making fresh biscuits so quickly: He kept a pre-mixed blend of flour, baking powder, lard, and salt on ice.

2. General Mills acted quickly to get Bisquick in grocery stores.

Smith pitched the idea of a ready-to-bake biscuit mix to other executives at General Mills, and the company set out to make a blend of ingredients that could sit on the shelf of a grocery store without being refrigerated. Charlie Kress, the company’s head chemist, led the efforts to make the mix, and boxes of Bisquick went on sale to the public in 1931. It was incredibly popular, so competitors started selling Bisquick knock-offs, but Bisquick was the top seller.

3. Bisquick hired Shirley Temple to get kids to drink more milk.

In 1935, Bisquick partnered with child megastar Shirley Temple to sell more boxes of Bisquick and encourage kids to drink milk. Bisquick gave a free kid’s mug with Temple’s photo on it to customers who bought a large Bisquick box. Because the Bisquick mix required milk or water to be added to it, parents could use milk to make their biscuits, and kids could drink milk out of their Shirley Temple cups.

4. Bisquick offered a "world of baking in a box."

During the 1940s, Americans used Bisquick because it was a cheap, versatile convenience food. Bisquick’s slogan became “a world of baking in a box” to indicate that people could use the mix to make more than just biscuits. Recipes for coffee cake, muffins, fruit shortcake, and dumplings were printed on the back of Bisquick boxes, and home cooks used Bisquick to make everything from meat pies to cobblers.

5. The Bisquick recipe was modified in the 1960s.

General Mills changed the Bisquick recipe in the late 1960s to make biscuits fluffier and lighter in texture. The new product, which had buttermilk and more shortening in it, was called New Bisquick. New Bisquick was a hit, and after it replaced the old formulation, it was simply called Bisquick.

6. Bisquick recipes were traded and shared by fans.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Bisquick focused on recipes. In 1971, Betty Crocker's Bisquick Cookbook gave readers more than 200 recipes using Bisquick. In 1980, the Bisquick Recipe Club served as an early social network for Bisquick fans. The club sent cookbooks and The Bisquick Banner—a newsletter with Bisquick recipes and ideas—to fans across the country.

7. Bisquick Shake n' Pour simplified the baking process even further.

Although Bisquick is already a convenient, time-saving food, General Mills found a way to make it even easier for (lazy) cooks. With Bisquick Shake 'n Pour, all you have to do is add water to the container, shake it, and pour the mix onto your griddle. Bisquick Shake 'n Pour includes dried egg whites, defatted soy flour, and buttermilk, so there’s no need to measure the mix, crack an egg, or add milk.

8. Regular Bisquick contains trans fats ...

Health-conscious customers object to Bisquick’s use of trans fat—specifically, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil—as an ingredient in the baking mix. Partially hydrogenated oils can raise your level of LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower your level of HDL (good) cholesterol, which can lead to cardiovascular disease. Consequently, you can find recipes online for a homemade Bisquick alternative, which uses flour, butter, baking powder, and salt.

9. ... so Bisquick introduced a heart-healthier variety.

Bisquick Heart Smart Pancake and Baking Mix is an option for customers who don’t want to eat trans fat (and don’t want to make their own homemade version of Bisquick). This variant contains no partially hydrogenated oils and has zero grams of trans fat.

10. Gluten-free Bisquick is a thing.

Bisquick sells a gluten-free pancake and baking mix, which contains rice flour and modified potato starch. Betty Crocker’s website also has a section devoted to gluten-free recipes, with everything from pumpkin pie to frittatas to cranberry stuffing to brownies.

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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This Nifty Potato Chip Bag Hack Is Amazing the Internet

Keep that crispy, crunchy freshness inside the bag—no tools needed.
Keep that crispy, crunchy freshness inside the bag—no tools needed.
etiennevoss/iStock via Getty Images

If you don’t have enough chip clips to keep your snack bags shut—or if you have a habit of misplacing them—there’s no shortage of household items you can use instead. Clothespins, binder clips, rubber bands, and ponytail holders all get the job done, and you could even use an especially durable paper clip or bobby pin in a pinch.

But, as many people on the internet just discovered, all you actually need to seal your half-eaten bag of potato chips is the bag itself. Last week, actor and host of Bravo’s Top Chef Padma Lakshmi posted a video on Twitter of her tightly closing a bag of Fritos without any makeshift chip clips.

First you fold the two sides of the bag down as far as they’ll go, so the top of the bag is shaped like a triangle—similar to how you’d wrap a present. Then, roll up the bottom of that triangle a few times until you’ve created a pocket, under which you can tuck the triangle’s point. After that, simply roll the top of the bag down a few times, and you’ve successfully sealed the bag.

At the end of the video, Lakshmi turns the bag upside down and gives it a few shakes to show everyone just how secure it is. She tweeted the hack with the caption “How am I just finding out about this now?” and, considering that the video has been viewed more than 10 million times, it’s safe to say that she’s not the only one who didn’t know about the hack.

Wondering what other life hacks you might be missing out on? Find out how to chill a soda in three minutes, remove scratches on CDs, and more here.

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